Friday, December 24, 2010


"From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other."
Emily Matthews

12K in the fog and snow...we rock!
Synchronicity :)
My amazing running partners...I love you guys!


Friday, December 17, 2010

A wonderful winter run with my niece...

"Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality."
Andy Goldsworthy

Last sunday, we headed out in this for our 10K...

Going by the Fort in loose snow...if you look closely, you can see my plastic bags sticking out of my running shoes :)

We are hardcore winter runners!

Wet hair and rosy cheeks...we did it!

Winter running is not easy, but it's definitely a good workout! This afternoon, I have 4 X 500m hill repeats planned, it is still snowing lightly and -8°C/17°F...but I'm up for it :)

For some reason, Christmas just creeped up on me this year. I'm always at the last minute, but this year is even worse than usual...I have absolutely nothing done yet. Someone will be shopping and baking this weekend! Thank goodness...we don't buy lots of gifts in our family and I only have my cinnamon rolls to bake, which is a Christmas tradition. I better get moving...have a great weekend everyone!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Firsts and Training

“Make measurable progress in reasonable time.”
Jim Rohn

FIRSTS: As I mentioned a few posts back, I have decided to work "cautiously" on my speed (relatively speaking of course). Basically, I decided that when I went out and did my short tempo runs during the week, I would try and push myself a little harder. Seems I was ready, because on one of those tempo runs, I ran my FIRST 5K in under 30 minutes (29m14s)...the pride I felt was amazing. I also ran my FIRST hill repeats of the season on snowy/icy sidewalks this week...but, I felt great and had a smile on my face throughout. I'm feeling strong and motivated...Yay!

TRAINING: PT is going well...I'm really glad I didn't wait and that we are dealing with the piriformis issue before it's actually an ISSUE :) I've been feeling really good on my runs lately and am feeling very motivated. Here's what my schedule looks like for the next few months:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Short tempo run
Wednesday: 10 minute warm-up on bike and 40 minute workout (includes plyometrics and abs)
Thursday: Hill repeats
Friday: 30-45minutes on bike and Yoga/Pilates class
Saturday: 10 minute warm-up on bike and 40 minute workout (same as above)
Sunday: Long run

I've learned that I have to be careful not to just run, but to cross-train effectively. So I've added some biking and workout days, that don't include any running. This is my third week into this program and I'm feeling great. I've learned so much over the last year, it's incredible... Hopefully, I will stay injury-free, and to help with that, I plan on seeing Joseph (my PT) quite regularly, from now until my marathon in May :)

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Santa Shuffle volunteer - I won! - and an update...

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more”
Anthony Robbins

First: This morning was the Santa Shuffle here on Mount Royal and I was fortunate to be one of the few volunteers. We were a small, but enthousiastic group and we were all needed to help things "run" smoothly.
It was quite cold this morning (-2°C/28°F) and windy. But, we were all dressed for the weather and our main problem was preventing the water we had prepared in advance from freezing. I'm not kidding, we had to squeeze the glasses regularly to break up the ice.

Filling the glasses.

Responding to my brothers call of "Give me two beers" - it may not be beer, but it sure was a cold drink!
Yeah...he ran right past me after taking this shot :)

Here's the group after their race -
The one right next to me is my niece O, who will be running the Hypothermic Half with us :)

I loved doing this! Thanks to my brother for the great pics :)

Second: I have been very lucky lately in the Virtual Race department...this week I was one of the lucky winners of The Black Knight Virtual Race!
Thanks Stefano of Run with the Black Knight for this fun race!
Stefano is from Italy, which is very cool...and I am very excited to have won a black long sleeve shirt...YAY! :)

Third: A short piriformis update if you are interested...just to be on the safe side and because the pain, though mild, still comes and goes, I went to see Joseph the magician ("my" PT). The good news is that there is no serious injury, but there is definitely something going on. The strange news is that it all seems to be triggered by something that occured about 5 years ago. I've already mentioned this, but before my asthma (which started in 2003) was under control, I broke three ribs from coughing (left side). The cartillage around the ribs seems to have become a little wonky and it used to be that I could not do abs by bending at the waist without the ribs and cartillage getting tangled and causing major pain. it seems that when I breath, I only stretch one side of my rib cage, the damaged side (left) stays out and does not go in and out. So, the ab muscles on the left side are weaker than those on the right, and that leads to me not using my glutes, which are somehow tied to the abs. Instead, I am using my piriformis and my hamstring to try and compensate. This means that both the piriformis and hamstring on my left side are very strong, but not made to do the job of the big glute. Interesting how every little thing is connected in the body! So this week, I'm working on breathing exercises where I force my left side to work, and I really feel the stretch when I do them...I also have to do abs, but only with my legs. Next Tuesday, Joseph will give me exercises for my glutes. According to Joseph, doing this now is likely to prevent more serious injury later. Oh and there's something happening with my hip (probably due to the corticosteroids which eat away at the bone and muscle)...but nothing major and what we are doing now, should help with that too. PT fascinates me!

The take home message is that I can keep on keeping on :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

As promised–video review and update…

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favour.”
Brian Tracy
First a review of the aerobic step I received from CSN Stores. I was very excited when I came home on Tuesday and saw this big package on my doorstep. Not only did they send me my order quickly, they didn’t charge me any shipping fees. Smile

When I spoke of buying the step, a few of you gave me ideas of how you use yours. I loved that…thanks! Therefore, I shall now show my favourite way to use the step and stay in shape for running.

The jumps…

Of course, there are tons of other ways to use this super solid step. Thanks again to CSN for this great opportunity. BTW, the gravelly Lauren Bacall voice is a side-effect of taking so many asthma inhalers…the corticosteroid powder is messing with my vocal cords. Oh and the little dog you see, that's Flocon (Snowflake in English) he's my mom's and I'm keeping him for six months while she's keeping herself warm in Florida this winter.

UPDATE: The piriformis seems to be under control. Iron Mike was right on when he said it seemed to be early onset. If I’m careful, and follow everyone’s advice, I should be okay. My PT was on vacation this week, so I didn’t see him, but I may not need to right away after all. Marcia suggested I do sidesteps with a stretchy rope; Mom Running from Cancer suggests I stretch and use the foam roller; and both Anne and ajh suggested I roll with the tennis ball. I’ve been good about stretching and rolling, the tennis ball really makes a huge difference and the pain is much much diminished. Yay!
As for the prednisone, I’m still on it and must take it for another 8 days. However, by next week, things should be back to “normal”. No use dwelling on it too much, at least I know I’ll feel better soon.

One of the things I decided to do is try and work on my speed a little bit. I don’t like to suffer and realized that I may have been holding back, especially on my shorter tempo runs. No need to warn me about overdoing it, I'm doing this with care and caution. So on Tuesday, I had a 4K tempo run to complete and figured I’d try and push it a little more, without looking at my watch, and see if it made a difference. Indeed, I ran at a pace of 9:31m/mile, the fastest I’ve ever run. I was pretty excited. I then repeated the exact same pace on Thursday for another 4K. There is not much that beats that feeling of pride. Although I will not be blogging much, know that if you are interested, I am on Daily Mile and I always enter my runs.

Another cool thing is that my 16 year-old niece has signed up to do the Hypothermic Half with us. So, I'll be doing a few of my long runs with her. I'm really excited and love to tease her about crossing over to the "other side" ;)

Finally, I may have another short post coming up next weekend as I will be a volunteer elf for the Santa Shuffle over here on Mount Royal. Lots of family and friends will be running and it’ll be fun to Pay it Forward this time around. I’m pretty excited about volunteering.

That's it for today, I'm off to complete my workout for today, after a warmup on the bike trainer. Happy belated Thanksgiving to my friends from the U.S.A. and happy running to all.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Here we go again!

"I've been unfortunate enough to be working, and recovering from a few injuries now and again."
Jason Statham

Is this a typical pattern for newbie runners? First, runners knee followed by a foot injury and now, drum roll please...feels like piriformis syndrome! I've always had pain, on and off back there beneath the left butt cheek, but it never lasted. When I went to Niagara Falls, I got a free massage, and the student told me my piriformis muscle was extremely tight and probably causing what felt like sciatica. But, I did my half-marathon and I was fine, no pain. THEN, last Sunday, the plan was to do 10K. Beautiful weather, I'm feeling good...let's do it! By the time I was almost at 9K, I was seriously cramping up on the above mentioned butt cheek and actually ended up having to walk. It felt like someone had creeped up behind me and started squeezing my sciatica nerve...ouch!

Tuesday, I decided to bike instead of was absolutely beautiful outside and I could have enjoyed a nice outdoor bike ride. Sigh...why did I put my bike on the training so soon? See, once the bike is on the trainer, and you've changed the back tire for the special indoor tire, then you can't take it out again. I have so much to learn! Next year, the back tire only gets changed when there is significant snow on the ground. Anyway! The point of this was to say that I biked instead of ran.

Also, I rolled and stretched and iced...and yesterday, we went for a short 4K. It went fine, the pain was definitely bearable and not constant and I rolled again when I got home. BUT, then that night, as I'm laying in bed, totally not running, I felt mild pain, like I have a bruise or something. This lasted all night and had happened last Sunday evening too.

There you have it, the latest on the list of Anne's injuries. Anyone else dealing with Piriformis Syndrome? I'm going to make an appointment to see my PT, Joseph the magician, next week...hope he can make this go away too!

On a more positive note, NOT! I'm now back on prednisone...interestingly, my lung capacity remains pretty good even when the inflammation is through the roof. This means that my quality of life is not affected as it once was when the inflammation set in. It is what it least I can still do what I enjoy most..."Live, Laugh, Run" :)

Lately, I'm thinking of taking a blogbattical (after I've done my promised review and video of the jumps I do with the aerobic step :)). Life has been busy and wonderful, but leaves me with little time for a cyberlife. Of course, there is no way I can just go away and not know what is going on with my bloggy friends. However, if I go by Marcia's definition of her runbattical, which includes its fair share of running, I can be on a blogbattical and still check in once in a while. You'll also hear from me whenever something exciting happens in my life and just must be shared. The main thing is, I'll be unplugged much more often and even when I read, I will mostly not be commenting. Chances are, I'll be back in full force as summer approaches along with my marathon date (May 29th)! :)

Happy running to all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I bought my trainer!

“All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners... Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they're not learning, they're not growing... not moving toward excellence.”
Denis Waitley

Not so much that I'm a top achiever...but, I do like trying new things. After hurting my foot and barely being able to walk, let alone run, for close to a month, I bought a bike. I loved biking and although I am back to running, I decided that it would be a good idea to continue cross-training on the bike in the winter. So I bought a trainer :) 
My new trainer!
First, I bought the trainer, which cost about $200 (I got the cheapest one)...then I bought a special blue tire for my back wheel, to avoid ruining my road tire, another $50, then the stand to hold my front tire steady, another $, I paid the young man to change my tire for me ($8). Overall, it cost me about $300. Totally worth it! I can keep all this for years to come and bonus, I can read while riding my bike!
Must figure out a better way to hold my book...

Running: Today, I went for a 7K, supposedly long slow distance (LSD) run. It was beautiful out and I just enjoyed my run, forgetting to look at my Garmin. I felt the way I normally feel on a run, though I did tell myself to slow down a bit at some point. Again, not because I looked at my Garmin, I just felt I was perhaps going a bit faster than LSD pace (should be at least 7 min./km). I was so surprised when my Garmin Training Center showed me my pace was faster than tempo pace...what?! My average was 6.22min/km (10.14min/mile) first Km was 5.57minutes. Seriously, it totally did not feel that fast. Yay I mean oops ;)


Friday, November 5, 2010

I thought it would be was easy (or vice versa)

"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.
Orville Wright

Tuesday, I felt good about starting a new program. The plan was a nice short 4K. I assumed it would go well...that it would be easy. NOT. I was so tired after just 2K, that I was feeling a bit queasy and stopped after a mere 3K. Okay.

Thursday, I felt tired and I had a glass of wine at lunch, it was raining and chilly. So, the idea of getting out there and doing another 4K didn't thrill me. I assumed it wouldn't go well...that it would be hard. NOT. I floated through this run, I felt great and completed 5.2K without any fatigue.

I guess assumptions cannot be made about how our run will go :)


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Québec city!

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."
Erma Bombeck

This first part is not running related, but I spent the last three days in Québec city with my two sisters...and we had a blast!
Me, Cee and Iz

I was in Québec for a Psychology Conference. It was great to come back to my room after my day of very interesting, but relatively serious sessions and finding my sisters waiting for me. We had some wild laugh out loud moments.

A nice dinner together.

These conferences also have an Expo, where they sell psychology related books and tools. After being in Niagara Falls last week for a race, the difference in how I dressed and what the people around me discussed, was striking. They are really two very separate worlds and yet somehow, I fit into both of them comfortably. I have to admit I was tempted to wear my "Live Laugh Run" t-shirt, just to let people know that I am also a runner :) ...but it was actually too cold in those rooms! Then in the evenings, it was all about spending time with my sisters. But, since they are both in helping professions (Cee - coaching, and Iz - acupuncture) we sometimes talked about our work. I like it when my worlds collide and then merge!

I participated in the Run for Lupus Virtual race and THANK YOU Marcia, because I received my cool necklace from Tarma Designs.

The really cool thing, is that I was expecting to receive the "Heart" to Run necklace, which I really really like. However, I'll be honest and tell you that when Marcia told me that Tarma would be sending me the necklace directly, I almost emailed her to ask if I could get the running girl  instead, which I love. But, then I figured that was being picky :). So, imagine my surprise when this is what I received in the mail...
Yay! It's the running girl...I love it!

Thanks again Marcia and Tarma Designs!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A few thoughts...

A few thoughts about my unplanned half-marathon:

Other people may be there to help us, teach us, guide us along our path, but the lesson to be learned is always ours.
  • Cross-training really helps. While I could not run, I biked, and I realize this definitely helped keep me strong enough to complete this half-marathon, despite the fact that I had not run more than one 10K in the previous 8 weeks. 
  • I intend to buy a trainer for my bike so that I can continue cross-training over the winter (I'll post a picture when I get it).
  • My lungs are so much stronger now. I had a cold two weeks before the race, and that used to mean a serious deterioration of my lung capacity (asthma). Not this time, I got over it without even seeing my doctor. Running heals me :)
  • Doing this untrained-for half, has really increased my confidence in my body's capacity to run a marathon (in May)! I am stronger than I thought I was. Yes, I too believe I can now say with pride, "My name is Anne and I am an athlete"! :) 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Niagara Falls race report! many stories :)

“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The (wo)man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”
Dale Carnegie
Niagara Falls downtown…Saturday afternoon. Ripley’s Believe it or Not…check out the “guy” going up and down the building on a cable.
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We went to the expo…and bought a few things, including this cool t-shirt.
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Then we listened to Kathrine Switzer give a short talk…this woman is very inspiring and it amazes me that her experience occurred in my lifetime. Essentially, I can train to run in an official marathon thanks to her.
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 Then I went for a free massage…and this girl did a great job!
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Oh…and when I went to register for the 10K, it was full. This is what the nice man said to me, “Well, either you tough it out and do the half or you wimp out and do the 5K” :) …yeah, okay. So I decided to go for the half…of course! Note that since my last half-marathon on September 5th, I was injured twice and had only run 10K once…no more. For three weeks I did not run a all and then I started back very slowly. Was I a little worried about doing the half…yes, a little. But, I felt good and I hoped that my base was strong enough. Also, I had already decided that I would play it safe, so NO to my Garmin and YES to my camera. How did it go…you’ll have to wait for it.
First, Saturday night fuelling…we shared.
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After a relatively good night’s sleep, we had our pre-race breakfast in our room.
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 Then off we went and while we were waiting for the bus, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with Marlene. She is such a gorgeous young woman, inside and out. Great personality…I’m really glad I got the chance to speak with her, as she reassured me regarding my last-minute switch to the half-marathon.
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 Then it was off to the start line. Here’s the view in front of me…isn’t it beautiful!
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 Here I am, on the run, near the beginning.
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 Now here are a few pics of the water stations along the way.
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Here I am around half-way…still feeling good.
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 Nearing the Finish line…
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It seems that my base is solid enough and my injuries are truly healed! I was careful to walk whenever I felt any discomfort and I was careful with my form. I felt pretty good considering the lack of training and the fact that I just got over a cold last week. My time: 2h21m14s :) I’ll definitely take it! BTW, the cool black rain jacket I am wearing is what we got instead of a t-shirt…I love it!
The weather was perfect, between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius (high 50’s to low 60’s Farenheit) a peak of sunshine, a few raindrops and minimal wind. Uber H and I were happy…speaking of which. 
Now for the second part of this story…the main reason we came to Niagara Falls this weekend…Uber H was running his first marathon. I am so freaking proud of him! His goal was to try and come in under 4 hours.
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 His time: 3h59m06s…Woot woot! He freaking did it and he was so excited.
I am so proud of him!
Celebrating :)
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Finally, here are a  few pics of the Falls…breathtaking view.
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Overall, a wonderful weekend…

Friday, October 22, 2010

Foto Friday :)

"If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."
Kathrine Switzer

Inspiration! Such a nice lady...and fit!

"Anne - Running gives us everything - Go for it!"
K. Switzer Niagara, 2010


Thursday, October 21, 2010

We're off...and rainy run

"One already wet does not feel the rain.”
Philemon Turkish Proverb

Well, so far, the weather forecast for Niagara Falls this Sunday is...
and windy...

I'm sort of glad I'm not running the marathon as I can be there to support Uber H...maybe give him some dry socks and a dry t-shirt around half-way. As I've read on a few blogs, "You run the race you're given"...I can only agree.

As for me...I hope I can downgrade to the 10K. They do say we can downgrade to the half-marathon, so I hope the 10K is also allowed. I was all excited because the last 10K of the circuit are downhill...until I realized that we are doing an out and back from the start/finish line. So, uphill the first 5K and downhill the second 5K...oh well :) My 5K run this morning went really well. But, it was... the rain. Good practice for Sunday...
What a strange looking early morning pic...

I was by this cool place that sells water plants and is full of ponds and bridges.
See it wasn't dark anymore, I took both those pictures within seconds of each other...

I have had no time to comment over the last few days...but, I'm bringing my computer and if we have internet'll be hearing from me :)

Niagara Falls, here we come...I really look forward to meeting up with Marlene, one of my running bloggy heroes...yay!